It’s really hard when you live with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. BPPV causes you to experience episodes of vertigo i.e. a spinning sensation. Usually, the feeling of spinning or going into a dizzy state occurs when you move your head around in a quick fashion, in which case there is no problem (don’t self diagnose yourself with BPPV if you’ve been running round in circles and feeling dizzy!). But BPPV causes your brain to go into the same state even when you make small motions using your head. This becomes a huge problem when it interferes with your daily life.
- Vertigo that lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes
- Whenever you change your position in a certain way (the pattern is different for different people)
- Difficulty to see properly or focus your sight during an attack
- Sometimes, fainting
- Rarely, vomiting
Do you have BPPV?
You can find out using the Dix Hallpike Manuever. This test must be done in the presence of a trained tester or physical therapist. The maneuver recreates the pattern that brings out the symptoms of BPPV to test whether you have the disorder or not. You can see the Dix Hallpike Manuever in this video.
Why does this happen?
Your ear has calcium crystals that provide gravitational data to the brain. So the feeling of weightlessness when the ferris wheel moves down or when a car accelerates is all thanks to these crystals. In some people, these crystals get dislocated and notoriously send incorrect gravitational data to our brain. So our brain starts thinking and behaving like we would if our head was in randomly changing motion!
Can BPPV be treated?
The symptoms of BPPV can be treated. Brandt Daroff exercises are prescribed by doctors to many BPPV sufferers. These exercises involve repeating certain movements in the head that mildly induce vertigo. These exercises are usually meant to be performed 2-3 times a day for a few weeks. They are known to reduce the symptoms of BPPV in more than 95% of all cases.
For starters, you need to visit a physical therapist who will teach you how to perform these exercises in a way that will benefit your specific condition best. Once you have learned these, you can continue these exercises at home. Here’s a great video that shows you how thee Brandt Daroff exercises are performed.
It is recommended that you visit your physical therapist once you have completed performing the exercises for the prescribed period of time. The physical therapist will test your symptoms using the Dix Hallpike Maneuver once again.
The symptoms of BPPV are the only major causes of concern of having BPPV. These symptoms are also easily controllable. If you think you have BPPV, don’t wait for it to get worse. Treat it now and start living the quality of life you want to.